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Theater Research

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This web site is a starting point for researching plays, playwrights, and other theater topics at the Dulaney-Browne Library. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide. However, the site is intended to help students understand the various theater sources available and how to begin research. All print sources can be found at the Dulaney-Browne Library unless otherwise stated. The information presented here is intended for college students, who are new to library research or new to the theater subject matter.

Subject Headings

Monographs (books) can be located using the Library Discovery System. Following are some examples of subject headings for researching theater topics:

  • COSTUME Design
  • Costume design--California--Los Angeles--History--20th century.
    Costume design--China.
    Costume design--Exhibitions.
    Costume design--Great Britain.
    Costume design--Great Britain--History--20th century.
    Costume design--United States.
    Costume design--United States--History--20th century.
    Costume designers.
    Costume designers--California--Los Angeles--Biography.
    Costume designers--Canada--Biography.
    Costume designers--Directories.
    Costume designers--Great Britain--Biography.
    Costume designers--Interviews.
    Costume--England--History--16th century.
    Costume--England--History--17th century.
    Costume--England--History--Pictorial works.
    Costume--France--History--20th century.

Additional subject terms can be found in the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SUBJECT HEADINGS.

Clothing Designers

When searching for people, it is a good idea to do both an author and subject search on their name.  The catalog will react better for you if you reverse the name when you search as you see here below


  • Head, Edith
  • Hilferty, Susan
  • Hoffman, Constance
  • Mackie, Bob
  • Powell, Sandy
  • Roth, Ann

If you are having problems locating information on a person, it may be because you are searching one of their aliases. To find their given name visit the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS NAME AUTHORITIES.

Journal Titles & Indexes (Electronic & Print)

You may need your OCU email username and password to access electronic resources.

SEARCH EBSCOhost Databases listed below


Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Dictionaries and encyclopedias are a good place to start your research because they can give you a broad overview of the subject as well as terminology to use in subject searches. All items listed in this section are a part of the library’s reference collection and are LIBRARY USE ONLY.

  • 792.09 M293h. Mantzius, Karl. A History of Theatrical Art in Ancient and Modern Times. New York: Peter Smith, 1937.
  • R 792.09 B815h. Brown, T. Allston. History of the American Stage. New York: Blom, 1969.
  • R 792.02 B496g. Billington, Michael. The Guinness Book of Theatre Facts & Feats. Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives, 1982.
  • R 792.03 En19. Encyclopedia of World Theater. New York: Scribner, 1977.
  • R 792.03 In8.. International Dictionary of Theatre. Chicago: St. James Press, 1992.
  • R 792.03 Ox2. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • R 792.03 H333o4. Oxford Companion to the Theatre. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.
  • R 792.0321 C144 1995. Banham, Martin. Cambridge guide to the Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • R 792.03 H669d. Hodgson, Terry. Drama Dictionary. New York: New Amsterdam, 1988.
  • R 792.03 G765t. Granville, Wilfred. The Theater Dictionary. New York: Philosophical Library, 1952.
  • R 792.03 H247L. Harrison, Martin. Language of the Theatre. New York: Routledge, 1998.
  • R 792.03 B787t. Bowman, Walter Parker. Theatre Language. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1961.
  • R 792.03 L889t3. Lounsbury, Warren C. Theatre Backstage From A to Z. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1989.
  • R 792.025 C246b3 1994. Carter, Paul. Backstage Handbook. New York: Broadway Press, 1994.
  • R 792.026 C838c. Ingham, Rosemary. Costumer’s Handbook. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1980.
  • R 792.026 T361p. Thomas, Beverly Jane. Practical Approach to Costume Design and Construction. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1982.

Historical Maps & Internet Sources



World Shakespeare Bibliography The World Shakespeare Bibliography Online is a searchable electronic database consisting of the most comprehensive record of Shakespeare-related scholarship and theatrical productions published or produced worldwide between 1960 and 2015. Containing over 142,500 annotated entries, this collected information is an essential tool for anyone engaged in research on Shakespeare or early modern England.

The library owns a large library of dialect instruction called Acting with an accent dialect instruction by David Alan Stern.  They are on permanent reserve behind the circulation desk at Dulaney-Browne Library.   Ask for the call number 792.028 St45a 2003 and tell

  • [pt. 1]. New York City
    [pt. 2]. American Southern
    [pt. 3]. 4 Texas dialects
    [pt. 4]. Boston
    [pt. 5]. Down East New England
    [pt. 6]. Upper class New England "Kennedy-esque"
    [pt. 7]. Chicago
    [pt. 8]. Midwest farm and ranch
    [pt. 9]. Australian
    [pt. 10]. Spanish
    [pt. 11]. Italian
    [pt. 12]. French
    [pt. 13]. German
    [pt. 14]. Russian
    [pt. 15]. Yiddish
    [pt. 16]. Polish
    [pt. 17]. Norwegian and Swedish
    [pt. 18]. Standard British (2nd ed.)
    [pt. 19]. British North Country
    [pt. 20]. Cockney
    [pt. 21]. Irish
    [pt. 22]. Scottish
    [pt. 23]. Arabic
    [pt. 24]. Persian (Farsi)
    [pt. 25]. West Indian & Black African.
  • Stage dialect instruction booklets by David Alan Stern copyrighted 1979 and 1983.
    pt.1-9, 12-13, 18, 20, 25, 2/13/09, 19.50 ea.

Google Image Search

Google ADVANCED Image Search --Take advantage of advanced search features, such as limiting results to a site or domain.

TinEye Reverse Image Search--TinEye is a reverse image search engine. Search by image: Give it an image and it will tell you where the image appears on the web.


Getty Image Collections

NYPL Digital Images--Provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library's vast collections.

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog--Photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings. While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials produced in, or documenting the history of, the United States and the lives, interests and achievements of the American people.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Online access to a portion of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Victoria and Albert Museum
Access over 360,000 images from the collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design.

Bing Images

Artstor--best image database in the world....better and more comprehensive than Google Image Search!  TOTALLY worth effort to get to use it!!  HOW??  1.  Get OK Share Card from our circulation desk  2. Drive to any nearby school that owns access.  (OU, OSU, and UCO all own access to this resource).  3. Go in to the school's library and use their access to this amazing resource for FREE!

Corbis images

Europeana--Online collection of millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, archives and multi-media collections.

Oxford Art Online  from Oklahoma City Public Libraries This database is the second largest collection of images after Artstor, and yes, it is still MUCH larger than Google Images!  It has a single interface you can use to search the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Grove Art Online, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, and Encyclopedia of Aesthetics.--ANY Oklahoma City University Student can go to any branch of the Oklahoma City Public Libraries and get a card to use this database and once they get the card, they may use the database from the comfort of their very own home.

Music, Theater, Dance and Entertainment Business Librarian

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Beth Fleming
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Wanda L. Bass School of Music
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